Kant's Dog: On Borges, Philosophy, and the Time of Translation

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SUNY Press, Mar 6, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 286 pages
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Kant’s Dog provides fresh insight into Borges’s preoccupation with the contradiction of the time that passes and the identity that endures. By developing the implicit logic of the Borgesian archive, which is most often figured as the universal demand for and necessary impossibility of translation, Kant’s Dog is able to spell out Borges’s responses to the philosophical problems that most concerned him, those of the constitution of time, eternity, and identity; the determination of original and copy; the legitimacy of authority; experience; the nature of language and the possibility of a decision; and the name of God. Kant’s Dog offers original interpretations of several of Borges’s best known and most important stories and of the works of key figures in the history of philosophy, including Aristotle, Saint Paul, Maimonides, Hume, Locke, Kant, Heidegger, and Derrida. This study outlines Borges’s curious relationship to literature and philosophy and, through a reconsideration of the relation between necessity and accident, opens the question of the constitution of philosophy and literature. The afterword develops the logic of translation toward the secret at the heart of every culture in order to posit a Borgesian challenge to anthropology and cultural studies.
 

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Contents

Philosophy Literatureand the Accidents of Translation
1
For Borges
25
2 Belief in Translation
45
3 Kants Dog
91
4 Decisions of Hospitality
129
5 Idiocy the Name of God
171
The Secret of Culture
213
Notes
225
Index
269
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About the author (2012)

David E. Johnson is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He is the coeditor of Thinking with Borges and coauthor (with Scott Michaelsen) of Anthropology’s Wake: Attending to the End of Culture.

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